The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) surveyed consumers in the U.K. this summer on their views on promotional products. The study sought to understand the reactions from consumers regarding the promotional items they have received, their views on environmental considerations and how they felt about branded items.

It also inquired on how the pandemic has affected their attitudes. It found that 38 percent of respondents have received a promotional item during the pandemic—hand sanitizer, face coverings, water bottles, etc. Among those surveyed, 55 percent weren’t aware their face coverings were reusable (compared to 74 percent regarding water bottles) and only 51 percent said they’d received instructions on how to dispose of them (71 percent knew how to dispose of water bottles and 45 percent knew what to do with hand sanitizer). Furthermore, 42 percent said they expect their workplace to offer hand sanitizer, but only 29 percent expect to be given face coverings.

The survey asked respondents to weigh in on several categories as to whether they would actively seek them now or in the future. Not surprisingly, hand sanitizer and face coverings fell in the “actively seek now” column by large margins, 52 percent vs. 35 percent, and 50 percent vs. 29 percent, respectively.

The survey also ranked the qualities, by importance, in the branded items consumers received. No. 1 one was “useful,” followed by “relevant to my personal needs,” “reusable and/or sustainable,” “free,” “produced ethically” and finally, “can be disposed of ethically.”

Asked what the last promotional product they received was, 30 percent said hand sanitizer; 26 percent said face coverings; 20 percent said pens; 16 percent said food, confectionary and drink; and 14 percent said water bottles. Women over the age of 65 were the group of consumers most likely to have never received a promotional item, while consumers aged 18-44—particularly those aged 35-44—were the group mostly likely to have received a promotional item within the past month.

BPMA’s survey also queried respondents on what receiving branded items would encourage them to do. More than half said, “recommend a service, product or good,” “use that company or brand in the future” and “be more engaged with the company or brand.” Forty-six percent they would be encouraged to recommend the company or brand to others.